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Farewell to London pubs? They’re closing at an unprecedented rate

British capital has lost 25% of its traditional taverns since 2001, as land values soar and habits change

On a recent weekday just before noon, Michael and Linda Norris turned on the lights and unlocked the front door to their London pub, just as they’ve been doing for the past 34 years.

Across the street from a leafy park in the borough of Southwark, the China Hall Public House attracts rugby players after weeknight matches. Shortly after opening on this day, they welcomed a familiar face, Patrick Ford, a patron turned longtime friend.

“Obviously, all things take their progression, but this just seems to be unfair,” Ford remarked.

Since the 1980s, Ford has stopped by for countless chats, but all the talk here has recently turned to the China Hall’s impending closure.

“They want to bring the lease to a close and basically just want to get rid of us,” Michael Norris explained.

 

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